CORAL GABLES — Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush get a lot of attention for their ability to run the ball, and rightfully so.
Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz called Adams, Notre Dame’s top running back, “not a good player — a great player.” Wimbush is one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the land.
But the Irish also give carries to an up-and-coming sophomore. He wears No. 38, stands about 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, and is “fast” and “quick,” according to one of the Hurricanes determined to shut him down.
“He’s a good player,” said R.J. McIntosh, Miami’s rising star defensive tackle. “I grew up with him. We’re going to handle him, too.”
No. 38 is Deon McIntosh, his 20-year-old brother. He has 367 yards and five touchdowns on 64 carries this year, which ranks third on the team in all categories.
Both brothers, who played at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale, have earned accolades this year.
R.J., a junior, leads the nation in pass break-ups by a defensive lineman (six), and was named ACC defensive lineman of the week after recording 11 tackles, a PBU and a tackle for loss in UM’s Oct. 28 win at North Carolina. He also made a highlight-reel play last week against Virginia Tech, recovering a fumble and barreling 35 yards up the field.
Notre Dame, which leans more on Adams and Wimbush (combined 1,830 yards, 22 touchdowns on 238 carries), named Deon its offensive player of the game Oct. 8, after he put up 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns at UNC.
R.J., who is a year older, five inches taller and 100 pounds heavier, can’t wait to get his hands on him Saturday (8 p.m., ABC) — even though their mom is begging him not to.
“She’s always telling me, don’t hurt her baby,” he said. “My dad is a Hurricanes fan. He wants us to win.”
He’s not the only UM fan in the family.
Their younger brother, Kenny, is one of the top prospects in the country for 2019. Rivals rates him No. 3 among all-purpose athletes, and 49th overall, in his class. Kenny (6-0, 205), who plays running back and receiver at Davie-University School, has not made a college commitment, but plans to attend the game as a recruit. Last month, he visited Notre Dame, UM and Florida State. Saturday, he told Canesport he’s “Miami all the way,” and predicts a 32-28 Hurricanes victory.
In the brotherly group chat, Kenny said, the two gang up on Deon (who Notre Dame didn’t make available to reporters this week). The middle brother has plenty to say, but the biggest McIntosh believes he’ll have the final word.
“He trash-talks,” R.J. said. “He tries to get in my head. It’s going to be fun.
“He tries to pick on me. I pick on him. Very confident in our teams. I’ll be trash-talking out there to him, definitely.”
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has no problem if they go at it.
“We have a saying: they’re nameless and faceless once the game begins,” Diaz said. “R.J. is one of our best players and his brother’s doing a great job for them. He’s running the ball hard, a lot of explosive runs.
“I try and stay out of that, that’s family business.”
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